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Creative Writing, MFA

Offered in: CHICAGO

The Roosevelt MFA in creative writing is designed to provide writers with the tools and guidance to express their knowledge of human experience and their personal and community aspirations in well-crafted fiction, poetry, dramatic scripts, and creative nonfiction. Staffed by professional writers distinguished for their abilities as teachers, creative writing at Roosevelt is an innovative program dedicated to developing students' literary knowledge and sense of writer's craft while offering real-world guidance for negotiating a future career in writing. To achieve this, the program offers three kinds of experience:

  • practice of various literary forms through workshops in poetry, fiction, play writing, screen writing, and creative nonfiction
  • course work in literary traditions, literary and critical theory, contemporary aesthetic developments, practical analysis of the principles of critique, and prevailing forces and protocols in the literary marketplace
  • training and experience in one or more practical applications of writing, such as editing, publishing, and marketing; public service writing internships placing students in nonprofit or corporate organizations; teaching writing, whether composition, literature, or creative writing, in the University and creative writing in community youth and senior centers in the Chicago area

Admission

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit the University graduate application, the creative writing application, three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and a portfolio of written work consistent with the requirements listed in the specialty fields below. Applicants who show promise, despite being short of the required quantity of samples, may be referred to other courses in order to build portfolios that will qualify them for admission. After a student completes at least two introductory workshops and at least one literature course, the portfolio will be reviewed for a decision on the student’s advancement to candidacy.

Requirements

To earn an MFA in creative writing, students must complete 42 semester hours of graduate work including 18 semester hours of writing workshops in fiction, poetry, play writing, screen writing, or creative nonfiction; 12 semester hours in literature or theory; three semester hours in a practical writing internship; an additional elective or internship; and six semester hours of thesis work. Three of the writing workshop courses must be in the core specialty, and of the three electives, at least one must be in a genre other than the declared specialty. Internships are in public service writing, publishing, arts administration, or teaching.

  Elective in literature, writing workshop, or additional internship .....3
  Four courses in literature and theory .....12
  Internship .....3
  Thesis .....6
  Three elective workshops, at least one outside of specialty area .....9
  Three workshop courses in specialty area .....9

A student who has not completed a thesis or other final project must maintain continued registration during fall and spring semesters until completion of the project by registering for the appropriate zero-credit course (course number followed by “Y“). Students who have not maintained continuous registration for thesis or other final project will be required to register for all intervening fall and spring semesters prior to graduation.

Specialization in Fiction

In this sequence of classes, students will work on the process of creating, rewriting, editing, and publishing fiction. Emphasis will be placed on composition, analysis, and critique of narrative and non-narrative forms in a workshop environment. Candidates in the fiction specialty will complete all of the core fiction workshops. These studies will culminate in a thesis project consisting of a novel or book-length fiction collection of publishable quality.

Admission to fiction requires consent of the faculty upon review of a portfolio containing three pieces of fiction totaling at least 5,000 words, a resume of publications and readings, if applicable, and a statement of purpose.

Specialization in Creative Nonfiction

Writers interested in developing their skills as essayists, critics, biographers, or other relevant nonfiction specialists will find ample opportunities and direction to meet their goals. Although this genre often uses many of the narrative essentials of fiction, like point of view, voice, and plot, it relies on life experience coordinated with research, both documentary and interview. Declared nonfiction specialists will complete all of the core nonfiction workshops. These studies will culminate in a thesis project consisting of a book-length nonfiction work of publishable quality.

Admission to creative nonfiction requires consent of the faculty upon review of a portfolio of at least three essays of approximately 5,000 words. The portfolio should also include a resume of publications and readings, if applicable, and a statement of purpose.

Practical Writing Internships

Public-service writing: students will be placed with a compatible nonprofit concern where they can exercise skills in technical and promotional grant writing and other forms of professional and written expression.

Publishing: students may enroll in Literary Magazine Production, the class that produces Oyez Review, the professionally edited literary journal affiliated with the program, or may be placed with a publisher in the Chicago community.

Teaching: students may opt for an internship in the Roosevelt English composition program or in literature or creative writing, or they may develop and conduct creative writing workshops in community senior or youth centers.

Literary marketing: students will be placed with an organization that develops and produces literary events throughout the city.